The Realist’s 10-Step Health Plan

Health, it’s no mystery. Just like every other aspect of our lives these days, the wellness space has become crowded with too much content and information. We, in partnership with Tropicana, decided to bring it back to the basics.

Have you ever carried out extreme New Year’s resolutions successfully? Or any drastic health resolutions for that matter? We ourselves have tried and failed, which is why we tapped our favorite nutritionists for plans, resolutions and goals that are actually realistic. Sticking to a healthy regime might not be the mystery of the sphinx after all…

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From Dana James MS, CNS

January was your power month. You did the Whole30, started meditating (and actually enjoyed it), you got eight hours sleep at least once a week, and your boss regularly recognized your hard work. But by springtime, work was frantic, energy bars were becoming a staple meal replacement, and you were downing tequila on a Tuesday night as a stress relief. That vitality that you felt in January has long since faded, and you’re desperate to get back some normalcy for summer. There must be something between these two extremes? Read below for my simple step-by-step guide for living a life that doesn’t have us oscillating from good, bad to how did I just eat that?

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In the morning, move into an easy meditation. Remember, your phone is still off. You haven’t checked any emails or social media. This is your time. Commit to ten minutes of daily meditation. Wake up earlier if you need to. Meditation will instantly reward you with less emotional reactivity. You’ll be a nicer, calmer and more creative person. Think of meditation like brushing your teeth. It’s better to do it daily than have a long brush for 30 minutes once a month!

If you aren’t sure how to meditate, start with a guided meditation app like Headspace, Inscape or Simply Being or check out online courses like Light Watkins and Ziva Meditation.

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After your meditation, make a powered-up protein smoothie with 1 cup of almond milk, 1 cup of frozen fruit and a plant protein powder such as Vega One or my Beauti-fuel..

Save the eggs, avocado toast, and gluten-free granola for the weekend when you have more time to savor your meal. Just be sure not over load them with extra fats or fruits just because an Instagram smoothie “expert” puts it in hers!

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Eat a crunchy salad such as ‘slaw made with purple and green cabbage or a warming vegetable soup made with onion, celery and carrots. A sandwich doesn’t contain enough vegetables (that limpy lettuce doesn’t count) nor does a lentil soup (it’s a legume not a vegetable).

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Add protein and fats to your lunch so you’re not raiding the office kitchen at 3pm. If you skimp on protein and fats, you will get hungry. Both of these macronutrients turn on the body’s appetite suppressing hormones. This means add some avocado to your vegetable soup or organic chicken to your salad.

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At 4pm, give yourself a mind break. You mind needs to rest to be creative and productive. Make yourself a green tea, go out for a mini-walk or cut up some fresh fruit for an easy afternoon snack. Go back to your work ten minutes later.

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It’s best not to take the chaos of your work day into your home as you can find yourself mindlessly eating while deciding what to eat for dinner. Take a shower or at least change your clothes to signal that you’re transitioning from working woman to sensual at-home woman. If something frustrated you at work, write about it and problem solve. Don’t use food to dull it. The frustration will just continue.

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If dinner is where you fall down (this is where my client’s tend to struggle), get some help with preparing and cooking the meal. Use organic meal delivery services like Sun Basket and Green Chef – they have vegan and Paleo options. If you prefer to make your meals yourself (that’s me), keep frozen vegetables at home so you can make simple plant-based meals. A bag of frozen peas can be converted into a delicious pea soup with the help of onions and chicken or vegetable stock. Cauliflower can be tossed with turmeric and onions for Indian-style cauliflower. Add some rotisserie chicken and you have a meal! Experiment with a slow cooker. By the time you are home, the meal is done!

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The mere act of making tea is calming but a chamomile and lavender tea or a sweet rose tea has extra. One of my favorite organic brands is Tulsi. Add a hint of raw honey to appease a sweet tooth. Read, relax and savor the end of the day.

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If you skimp on your sleep, you’ll feel it the next day. If you don’t sleep well, wear a silk eye mask to block out the light. Invest in 600-threadcount sheets so you want to get into bed!

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If you follow the above steps, you’ll eat similar to this: Strawberry smoothie for breakfast, wild arugula salad with fennel, artichoke, avocado and organic chicken salad for lunch, chopped apple with cinnamon for an afternoon snack, curried vegetables with halibut for dinner and chamomile and lavender tea with honey after dinner. But I also want you to have fun, play a little and indulge in your favorite treats. If you want steak frites one night, then have it. If you want tiramisu, go ahead. Pizza? Yes! But it’s just once a week. The rest of the time, stick to a plan similar to what I’ve outlined above!

Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t follow this consistently. Instead, look at why you’re over-eating or skipping meals. Be honest with yourself about what’s really going on. Do you have some distorted food beliefs such as saving your calories for the end of the day, or using food or alcohol as a numbing tool? If so, work with a licensed nutritionist who can help you alter those habits and beliefs. It’s better to invest the money now than be disappointed with yourself a decade later because you’re still doing the same thing!

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INM

*Sponsored by Tropicana